Credit: Paula K

Know This BEFORE You Head To Walt Disney World

We want to make sure that you are prepared for a fantastic Walt Disney World vacation. A lot goes into planning a vacation to Walt Disney World, so we want to make sure you are aware of these important things BEFORE you head down to Walt Disney World while you are getting into your Disney planning.

Walt Disney World is BIG- REALLY BIG

A lot of people think that Walt Disney World is just the Park with the castle. This isn’t the case. A Disney vacation includes four Theme Parks (Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios), two water parks (Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon), Disney Springs, and around 30 resorts.

Know that because of the size of Walt Disney World, it will take a while to get from place to place during your Disney vacation. Even with Disney’s free transportation, it can take 20+ minutes to get from a Resort to a Park.

If you plan to travel between a Disney Resort for dining options, this can take even longer. Disney recommends scheduling 90 minutes when it comes to getting between resorts.

This can greatly impact your Disney World vacation if you aren’t aware of this and don’t plan accordingly. You don’t want to feel like you are constantly behind or running late while on vacation. Instead, plan for longer transportation.


Options for Getting from MCO to Disney

Disney’s Magical Express, the free transportation service from Orlando International Airport to Disney Resorts, will be wrapping up service on January 1st, 2022. This means that if you are traveling after this, you need to plan how to get from the airport to your Resort.

There are always rideshare options such as Lyft or Uber, or even taxis. Many of these are available at the airport, but this can be tough if you have little ones that need car seats.

MEARS Connect is a new option that is coming in 2022. Mears is the company that worked with Disney to provide Disney’s Magical Express, and now they are moving on to have their service.

Guests can choose from a private transfer (or express as they call it). It is $200 for a group of four round trips. A standard service (shared) is $32 for adults and $27 for children round trip.

Make sure that before heading down to Walt Disney World, you have a plan on how you will get your family to their Disney Resort so they can start their Disney World vacation.

Must Do Experiences

As we mentioned right away, Walt Disney World is huge. Because of this, you aren’t going to be able to see and do it all.

Before you head down, have a conversation with your traveling party to determine what are the 2-3 experiences they want to make sure they get to do in Disney Park.

Discussing everyone’s goals ahead of time can help set you up for success when heading into the Theme Park.

What is Closed

Another important area to be aware of before you head down to the Walt Disney World Resort is what might be closed.
Disney releases what attractions and experiences aren’t available in a Theme Park on their website ahead of time. Take time to check this out so you can prepare everyone if something is closed.

For example, Expedition Everest in Disney’s Animal Kingdom is closing for three months here soon. If this is a favorite of your family’s, you will want them to know that it won’t be available on this Disney trip.

This information is good to know for dining, experiences, resorts, and rides.

Credit: Disney

Resort Features

Part of the magic in Walt Disney World is the amazing resorts. Make sure you take time to learn what amenities and entertainment is available at your Disney Resort before you head down.

Many Disney Resorts offer art and crafts throughout the day and games and trivia at the pools in the afternoons.

In the evenings, you can catch Movies Under the Stars, where a beloved Disney movie is shown out on the Resort grounds. What is better than seeing a favorite Disney movie at Disney World?

Don’t miss out on all the magic offered at the Disney Resorts. Look into the fun that is available right at your Disney Resort.


Credit: DisneySpecial Events Available

There are always special events happening in Walt Disney World, so make sure you check into them before heading down to visit.

In EPCOT, there are festivals throughout the year that bring great food, drinks, and entertainment to the Park. These are fun to attend and experience, and you don’t want to miss them if you are down during one of these festivals.

In Magic Kingdom, there are firework dessert parties that you can now book to enjoy Disney Enchantment. These allow Guests to enjoy sweet treats and have a special seating area for the firework show.

Finally, if you are heading down to Walt Disney World in the next 18 months, you will be able to experience Disney’s 50th Anniversary Celebration. Check out all the desserts, cavalcades, and other events that are happening to help celebrate.

The special events are a lot of fun to experience while in Disney World, so make sure you check out what is available during your trip.

What is Genie, Genie+ and Lightning Lanes

As you get ready to head to Disney World, make sure you are familiar with the new free planning service Disney Genie.

Disney Genie is found in the My Disney Experience App and provides tips and suggestions to Guests as they move around the Theme Parks. This feature is free to all Guests.

Genie+ is a paid feature that costs Guests that wish to use it $15/day. This gives them access to Lightning Lanes (the actual lane used to get to the ride), bypassing the standby lines and saving time.

Before you head down to visit, make sure you do some digging on this service to see if it works for you. We have information on the free version of Disney Genie as well as information on Genie+.

Credit: Paula K

No Such Thing As Perfect

Finally, before you go down, make sure you understand that no amount of planning or preparation will make your trip perfect because there is no such thing as a perfect trip.

Rides will break down, rain, big and little kids will meltdown, and it is okay. All of this is part of a Disney vacation.
Give yourself grace that it is okay if there are meltdowns and you don’t get to everything you wanted. Instead, enjoy the magic that you are having with your family.

It is a big undertaking to plan a trip to Walt Disney World. We hope that knowing this information before heading down will make your trip smoother for everyone.

About Jennifer Retzlaff

My name is Jennifer Retzlaff and I became a lifelong Disney fan during my first trip to Walt Disney World in 6th grade. From that moment, Disney became a big part of my life. I live in Iowa with my husband and two kids who are growing up too quickly for my liking. I started introducing my love for Disney early to my family with a Disney honeymoon and then trips when our youngest of 18 months. Since then, our family has been to Walt Disney World over five times and we continue to plan and dream for the next trip. I love the magic that Disney brings to people through the theme parks, cruises, adventures and movies they create. As a teacher, I try to bring that magic into my classroom to help kids believe that “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It.” I recently reached a dream of mine as I joined Magic Vacation Planner as a personal travel advisor. With this team, I can now help others plan magical vacations. As a passionate writer, I also have my own blog at magicalvacationsbyjen which is also where you can follow me on instagram for trip reviews along with tips and tricks for your next magical vacation.